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15 years after leaving The View, Star Jones returned to ABC's daytime talker this morning as a guest co-host. Jones' return was met with a joyous round of applause from the studio audience, but the mood quickly shifted as she and Joy Behar, two of The View's original co-hosts, recalled their experience the morning of September 11, 2001.
"It's hard to believe that tomorrow will be 20 years since the 9/11 terror attacks," said Behar, by way of introduction. "We were in the makeup room getting ready to come on the show to do a live episode of The View at that time when the news came in that a plane had hit the World Trade Center."
Behar explained that at first, the co-hosts thought that a small plane had hit the building and that it would only be "a New York story," rather than a global event. "We were not thinking [it was] anything that would change our morning," said Jones. "We thought we'd might be a little delayed on local ABC."
"I remember we were actually having an argument. I remember the topic: it was a celebrity athlete who was accused of having an affair, and his wife was a friend of mine. And I was arguing with BW and saying, 'We don't need to do this story. I don't want to embarrass her,'" recalled Jones. "And the plane hit. I remember it just like it was yesterday."
REFLECTING ON THE DAY THAT CHANGED AMERICA: Twenty years since the 9/11 terror attacks, @JoyVBehar, @sarahaines, @ananavarro, @sunny, and @StarJonesEsq look back on the horrific day. https://t.co/w3c681Prf2 pic.twitter.com/gNV8XOZM5A— The View (@TheView) September 10, 2021
"And then when that second plane hit, all the Black producers, myself, and there was an African-American makeup artist, Elena George, who is still over at ABC, we went into the bathroom and did what we were taught to do," continued Jones. "We got on our knees and we prayed. I remember it like it was yesterday, Joy."
Behar joked that "lawyers have this annoying memory," whereas she doesn't "remember anything" from that morning. "What I do remember is that they were saying there might be more attacks. That more planes were going to be attacked. And my daughter was on her way to Canada on a plane. She was sitting on the tarmac," said the longtime co-host. She recounted calling her daughter, Eve, and instructing her to get off the plane, regardless of what the flight attendants said at the time. "I said, you tell her your mother said get off that plane!" Behar said, earning a laugh from the audience. "And she did. She got off, she got a cab, and went to Brooklyn."
After the attacks, Manhattan closed its borders, and Jones revealed "several of the producers came and stayed with [her] while we were off the air" because she they couldn't get home via the bridges or tunnels. "True story, Joy. I've never been on the subway again since 9/11," she said. "It's been 20 years, and I've never been on a subway again."
Before the segment ended, Jones made a point to shout out Fire House Engine 40, Ladder 35. "Those were our guys at 66th and Amsterdam. They lost 12 members," she said. "They were the guys who we used to pick on when they would come and give us the fire drills. And they were so wonderful to us, and just the thought of those families that were devastated — because when I was here, when Joy was here, they made sure we were all safe."
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Claire Spellberg Lustig is the TV Editor at Primetimer and a scholar of The View. Follow her on Twitter at @c_spellberg.